It’s not even close to crunch time. Almost two weeks remain to shop before Christmas morning. Relax. There’s plenty of time.
However, if you’re the spouse or child of an angler, a hunter or a hiker — but don’t actually participate in the outdoor arts yourself — gift buying can be a bit mind boggling.
For instance, what’s the difference between at Fatfish, a Flatfish, a Kwikfish and a Needlefish?
No worries. Here are 10 gift suggestions. While a couple of these are spendy, several cost less than $10.
Take some of the concern about getting caught in the woods after dark with a headlamp. These are particularly reassuring when cross-country skiing or snowshoeing and it takes longer than anticipated to get back to the car.
With LED lights, these headlamps provide a surprising amount of brightness for a long period of time. Budget about $30 to $50 for a headlamp, plus buy some top-of-the-line lithium batteries ($8 to $10 for four) to power the headlamp.
Give the gift of hiking on the snow in the middle of winter through a pair of snowshoes. Yeah, it’s a bit spendy at around $200, but snowshoes are simple to use and Southwest Washington has several winter recreation parking lots and lightly used snow trails.
Poles are not absolutely necessary, but are a good idea and add about $50 to the cost.
This year, The Mountaineers Books added a Mount Adams and Goat Rocks volume to their Day Hiking series. Author Tami Asars included 81 hikes. Eighteen hikes are in Goat Rocks Wilderness, 16 are in Mount Adams Wilderness, seven are in or near Indian Heaven Wilderness plus others are near Takhlakh Lake, Cispus River or White Pass.
The book sells for $18.95. It can be found in book stores and outdoor stores. The website is www.mountaineersbooks.org.
The Boone and Crockett Club, after 127 years of keeping big-game trophy records, has released its first cookbook.
Wild Gourmet: Naturally Healthy Game, Fish and Fowl Recipes for Everyday Chefs is 272 pages and sells for $34.95.
The book offers new twists on tradition recipes and includes wine pairings. There is an extensive section on wild game processing. Using color photos, there is a step-by-step guide to properly disassembling everything from elk to duck to squirrel.
To order, go online to www.boone-crockett.org or call 888-840-4868.
It’s called the Interagency Senior Pass, costs $10 once and is honored lifetime at all Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers sites that charge a day-use fee.
The purchaser, age 62 or older, gets a credit card-size pass and a plastic vehicle windshield holder. Buy this pass, keep it in the car, and you’ll be good at the 40-plus locations in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area where day fees are charged.
The pass can be bought in Clark County at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and the Gifford Pinchot headquarters, 10600 N.E. 51st Circle.
•Purple Nitrile Gloves
These incredibly cheap gloves keep your hands warm and dry when fishing. They are the best gloves to wear in the boat. When done for the day, throw them away.
Occasionally you'll see anglers in the lower Columbia wearing purple gloves, particularly during spring chinook season.
I started wearing them to keep my hand scent off plug-cut herring and sardine wraps on Kwikfish.
Your hands will be slightly damp at the end of the day, but not bad, and they will stay warm.
The nitrile gloves are latex-free and powder free. I buy mine at Walgreen's, 40 gloves for $8.29. Note that's 40 gloves, not 40 pair. The box is compact and lives in the boat all season.
•Apex Kokanee Special
A zillion lures will catch kokanee at Merwin Reservoir. The trick, of course, is figuring which is the hot one on the day you are fishing.
If I could have only one lure at Merwin, it would be a silver Hot Spot Apex Kokanee Special, the version with silver prism tape on top (size 1.5, color No. 195 chrome fish scale). For the uninitiated, it’s a funny looking little wobbler with double hooks.
Wedding Ring spinners, Smile Blade spinners, small Colorado blade spinners, hoochies and Spin-n-Glos all will work well at times, but the silver Apex is the most consistent.
Anytime you’ve trolling with it, you’re seriously fishing.
• Gulp! Maggots
The topic of kokanee, a fish you can catch almost year-round in Southwest Washington, brings us to the gift of maggots.
Yes, all local kokanee fishermen should have a $4.29 jar of Berkley Gulp! maggots.
Most kokanee trollers tip their lure with a kernel or two of white corn. The open can of corn gets tossed at the end of the day, because corn is cheap and they’ll open a fresh can next trip.
Unless they forget to buy a new can.
Gulp! maggots work just as well as white corn and a jar will last multiple years in the tackle box. The best color is chartreuse (No. 613) followed by white (No. 611).